You have been advising NASA for 36 years. What is needed to keep astronauts in space feeling comfortable and working well together?
Communal meals, contact with their families, a place to retreat for some privacy, entertainment such as games or movies, a feasible and meaningful workload, clear rules about communal living, and a great deal of understanding—both from the mission planners on Earth and from their colleagues in the space station. Actually basic things, but things that are not always easy to achieve hundreds of kilometers above Earth.
I’m told that you had a large dining table set up on the ISS where the team comes together once a day.
That is not completely true. There has been a table on the ISS for quite some time, but it was not large enough for all crew members. Hence I’ve been doing my best to change that, so all members could dine together. This is how it is now, enough space for the whole crew. Several scientist were convinced that the crew members needed separate sleeping quarters and a cupola from which one could see the earth and take pictures. The idea stems from my research in the field of live in underwater labs. One has to look for really isolated places to learn things about space.